A Bright Idea in Mobile Security & Privacy

By TrustGo Security Labs On May 26, 2012 In Security

About a year ago, I was voted the nighttime dog walker of the family. It must have been a secret ballot, because I don’t recall nominating myself. Every night at about 9pm, as the kids are finishing their homework and my wife is settling in, my Formosan Mountain Dog rescue, Hugo, starts nipping at my knuckles. That’s how I know it’s time to go.

My neighborhood doesn’t have streetlights, so I grab my phone and fire up my flashlight app to light my way (and to find the treasure he inevitably drops about halfway into the trek). Even at half-power, this little app works great.

But in the months since starting this nightly ritual, I began noticing some strange things about my phone. When I opened my browser, the homepage had changed to an unfamiliar search page. Apps I never downloaded began appearing on my phone. I even started getting weird offers for local places when I was on vacation in Hawaii. Fast forward a few months and I finally learned why.

After starting at TrustGo, I loaded the beta version of our security app and did a scan, only to discover this particular flashlight app had some adware that all my antivirus apps had missed. By their definition, that app is not malware…it wasn’t designed to trick me into giving them my bank logins or anything like that. But a flashlight app that modifies my system, downloads things without my knowledge and tracks my location is more than I expected…and not in a good way.

That, in a nutshell, is what makes TrustGo so different. We’re the only company that has literally downloaded and checked millions of apps available on app stores around the world. Of course we find and eliminate the really bad malware. But we also look deeper to uncover risky app behaviors that can cause privacy leaks, unwanted app downloads, annoying notifications and more.

For us, mobile security is as much about protecting your privacy as it is about stopping malware, viruses and Trojan Horses. We want to make it easier and safer for you to download what you want, wherever you find it.

Because like you, we love apps.